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Setting up your Sales Team for Success

Posted by Derek Young on Jul 23, 2018 11:44:38 AM

Leading, motivating and coaching a sales team can be hard, especially for those who haven’t worked in sales and business development roles. It’s a common barrier we hear from business owners and managers. Take some time to answer these five questions to see if you’re setting your sales team up for success:

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Leading, motivating and coaching a sales team can be hard, especially for those who haven’t worked in sales and business development roles. It’s a common barrier we hear from business owners and managers. Take some time to answer these five questions to see if you’re setting your sales team up for success:

Does your sales team follow a formal sales process?

Don’t assume because someone’s worked in sales that they will know ‘what to do and how to do it’. I was recently asked to coach members of a sales team for an established SME. They were achieving some okay results but were inconsistent. Although the team consisted of established sales people, we had some interesting discoveries which uncovered some underlying problems with the company’s current sales process.

I encourage business owners and managers to invest time into reviewing their sales process, and ensuring the team know and follow the key steps and have developed their own natural style of delivery.

 

Is your sales process clear?

Great sales people and sales organisations have a very clear sales process which is critical to not only achieving consistent sales results, but in delivering a consistent customer experience.   

All too often, poor sales performance stems from two common problems:

  • Poor planning - not understanding your ideal customer/s and their typical industry/business challenges. Great sales people research their customers and their industry and can use this knowledge to quickly establish relevance and build confidence.
  • Time management – this can be challenging for many sales people as many can be inclined to fly by the seat of their pants. Great sales people structure their week and hold themselves accountable for the activity that’s required to deliver their sales results consistently.

Read blog:  The 1-2-3s of Growing Sales

Have you earned the right to offer a solution?

Yes, you must earn the right to offer a solution to your customer. Without this trust, the likelihood of making a sale is low. So, what can wrong:

  • A sales person often assumes that given they’ve sold to similar customers before, they have the perfect solution – therefore short cutting the sales process. While this assumption may be true, without engaging the customer in this process its unlikely to result in a sale or a great customer experience.
  • Talking too much. Great sales people are very good at getting customers talking and may ask only two or three open ended questions. This provides a first-hand account of the customers challenges and offers a much deeper insight to their priorities. The customer is less likely to feel that they have been sold to.

It may sound like a contradiction, but great sales people are highly structured and follow a clear process yet are seamless with a natural delivery. Before they offer a solution, they establish clear pain points and priorities.

Does your team understand what your customers value?

Many business owners can be quite bullish about understanding what their customers value (because they often act like they know the answer) and it may have been true at some point in the past. The challenge for us all is that customers’ needs and expectations are changing constantly, as is the marketplace. The best way to find out what customers value is to ask them! Meet with a cross section of customers regularly, and ask some carefully thought through questions; this is not your standard sales call!

Personally, I’m a fan of meeting with customers one on one, and ideally on natural territory. Prior to the meeting ensure you know their account inside out, including any issues that have occurred, as with the very best of planning and intent sometimes things just don’t go to plan.

You may choose to ask them to rate key elements of your delivery and service, but make sure you ask good open-ended questions to find out:

  • In their view, what's going well?
  • What do they see as our opportunities for improvement?

Speaking with customers is a great oppor0tunity to test your thinking on opportunities for improvement & innovation to see if it would be of value for them. It’s critical you don’t become defensive and remember to follow up afterwards.


How do you review performance and plan for success?

Sadly, this crucial part of the process is often overlooked because business owners or managers are just too busy. Think about the message you are sending – are we too busy to invest a few minutes a week with our people?

Meet up with individuals in your sales team to determine clear monthly & weekly priorities and expectations, these are critical for building high-performing sales teams.

Good luck!


This blog post is written by Derek Young, a business coach at The Icehouse and a facilitator of the Grow Your Sales Skills Workshop. He is a seasoned and innovative sales and business leader with broad experience across B2B & B2C.
 

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Topics: Business Coaching, Sales